Unconventional electrolysis

  • CWatters

    Thanks for the interesting references (other ones are also linked in the second paper but I haven't checked them out yet).

    The first researcher is located in Switzerland and is measuring these variations from his building in a low background radiation area, the group from the other paper is in located Greece, apparently in an area where Radon emissions could be a problem. It's not clear (to me at least) if in the latter case they're performing measurements on a outdoor location or inside a building.

    My measurements are performed indoors on a corner of a room which has relatively stable temperature and humidity level. Opening or closing the window does not appear to affect appreciably the readings. Also, the testing location is not in a basement, but on the first/upper floor of a single-detached home. So I was not led to believe this is due to Radon in the environment, unless other processes are involved (possibly traveling from the soil to the inside of the the walls?).

    The variation in gamma radiation in the first case is small (roughly 15.7-16.4 uR/Hr in one of the averaged graphs presented. The maximum value is about 4.5% higher than the minimum), and a bit more than this (1.14-1.25 x1E3 CPM, less than 10% increase) in the second case.

    In the current location in my case 30-minute average gamma radiation values can swing in a day from 70 to 95 CPM, for roughly a 35% daily increase. I'm not sure how sensitive my counter is to Alpha radiation, but a test I did several days ago seemed to show that most of this daily variation is not due to Alpha radiation.

    On the same subject bocjin linked in another thread this paper where they link heightened emission with low humidity and high temperature conditions: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.astropartphys.2017.10.011 (the original authors - from Israel - apparently linked them with solar neutrino emissions).

    I will try to pay attention to environmental conditions over the coming weeks, but if there is any suggestion for minimizing any variation from them, short of moving into a climate-controlled area, I will also try to follow that.

    On a slightly related note, it seems that today I had the highest peak values over the past days, but it's neither a particularly warm nor dry day. However to be fair the difference is not very large.

  • By the way, here are some close-up photos of the anode that in a previously described test/experiment that I thought had some "craters" formed in the process on the exposed surface. More than craters it looks like material is missing: these look like relatively deep holes. The surface appears pitted, although this could be the result of cleaning in HCl bath. The larger holes occurred (or so I thought) on areas that were not covered by insulating tape during the previous "unconventional" electrolysis test.

  • After trying to replicate the previous experiment (photo posted above) with a very similar procedure, I could kind of reproduce the porous appearance of the anode on the exposed (top) area, but I'm starting to suspect it's mostly a result that etching of the oxides in acid bath (10% HCl) is magnifying.

    Photos below show the anode before and after etching.

    Besides this, there's no particularly noteworthy oddity to report. I'd like to think that the odd jumpy behavior of Geiger counter readings today were due to the electrolysis testing, but there's no strong evidence of that. The red dashed line in the image in the zoomed up view (first graph) is when AM radio noise started appearing and kept varying up and down throughout the rest of the test. I had began applying power to the electrode assembly about 12 minutes earlier.

    EDIT: added notes

  • Longview

    I tried to reproduce closely what I did last time, so I used the same materials and procedure. The clips do corrode far too easily and their paint annoyingly flakes off during operation and I acknowledge that there certainly are more suitable ones that could be used for such tests.

    A different construction where the electrodes could be bolted onto some sort of tunable structure rather than held together with pressure would be better, but I initially simply used what I could readily find at home to test the concept. Besides the Geiger counter I haven't specifically acquired anything yet for the sole purpose of these tests.

  • In what is now becoming the standard occurrence, I will now proceed to report the null (or apparently null) tests for the day. As for Geiger readings, after weeks of steady periodic activity I'm apparently getting the opposite effects of what I was expecting despite having performed almost all the "best" tests I could do in the past couple days: the highest readings are getting lower while the lowest readings are (maybe) getting marginally higher.

    Maybe it is truly just due to ambiental variations? Of course that would be the most likely explanation.

    Yesterday's sharp spike occurred when for a test I moved the Geiger logging "cart" closer to the testing area.

    Below are personal notes from today's testing, directly replicating the idea/device of the opening post of this thread. I keep repeating that these writings are from my personal notes because I want to stress that I've not specifically written them for LENR-Forum.

    First testing round

    Trying to replicate the first experiments I reported, which caused crackling noise emission from the cathode. They did not use electrodes immersed in water, but just water at the interface and an almost nonexisting electrode gap. They used to get very hot.

    The basic procedure starts with the top electrode getting "dropped" on the anode. This allows for conduction to somehow ramp up gradually until a cushion composed of cavitating water, hydrogen and oxygen gases and steam prevents it from making direct contact with the bottom electrode and shorting out.

    Since I need both hands to operate the device and that it needs constant adjusting, writing notes as the experiment proceeds will not be as easy as with other experiment types.

    • <09:55> Starting to setup experiment
      • Magnet at the bottom of metal holder (a ferromagnetic wire stripper)
      • Anode (+) at the bottom
        • The initial idea behind this is that having the Cathode (-) at the top, the presumably active electrode, allowed for rapid inspection of the deposition layer formed
      • 5V will be applied
      • Gap will be formed by the oxide layer at the interface
        • Might take a while until it forms
      • Electrolyte will be used to add a temporary (soluble) low-conductivity barrier until proper conditions are set
    • <10:05> Started with no electrolyte
      • Line voltage 5V
    • <10:15> Red iron oxide layer forming on anode
    • <10:23> Suddenly much easier to pass a current
      • AM radio noise also appeared
    • <10:33> The process can be replicated
      • I keep the cathode moving or rotating slightly to avoid shorting as much as possible
    • <10:40> Voltage drops down to 4.92V, then the electrodes eventually short
      • Water at the interface becomes foamy in the process
      • Electrodes become very difficult to separate, but apparently not (just?) because of welding
    • <10:49> Experiment paused
      • Mostly the anode appears to have been affected
        • Its surface turned rusty red, but for the most part on the edges that had a shorter gap relatively to each other
          • Reason being that the center part of the electrodes got eroded over time due to various processes
      • No significant deposition observed on cathode, which is smooth and gray-black, seemingly oxide-free
        • No crackling noise heard nor expected because of this
      • This testing round was performed differently than past experiments

    Figure 1: Ferritic steel washers as electrodes; top cathode, bottom anode. No electrolyte used.

    Figure 2: The electrode interface. When it was first disassembled about 90 minutes earlier, the cathode did not look oxidized like this, but more gray-black looking.

    Second testing round

    I plan to add electrolyte powder to the coin, then water and start with 12V, then eventually switch to 5V. This would better replicate what I used to do prior to acquiring the Geiger counter with this experiment type.

    • <12:30> Cathode appears slightly rusted too, upon disassembing
    • <12:32> Added slight amounts of Na2CO3 electrolyte
    • <12:36> Current appears at 5V to be more intense
      • Voltage dropped to about 4.5V
        • Note that voltage is used as a proxy for PSU load here
      • For this reason I haven't applied 12V as it would have meant immediate PSU shutdown
    • <12:37> Anode became cleaned of the previously formed oxides, while the cathode became black

    Figure 3: Electrodes after using a Na2CO3 electrolyte solution. After a while of operation, the anode got partially cleaned from its surface red iron oxide layer and the cathode became dark black from presumably partially oxidized iron (for the most part).

    Figure 4: Electrodes after a longer period of operation using an electrolyte solution instead of just tap water.

    • <12:43> Changed anode plate to a large coin
    • <12:54> I'm having problems avoiding shorting the electrodes out
    • <13:00> After a few unsuccessful tries I flipped coin to the other side, which is smoother due to lack of arc discharge craters formed in previous experiments
      • Also added electrolyte and water

    Figure 5: New electrode arrangement using a 100 Lire coin (SS430) as the anode.

    Figure 6: Conditions of electrodes at the interface after a period of operation. All red iron oxides got removed, cathode became dark black. This arrangement did not prove to be reliable due to the ruined anode surface from previous testing.

    • <13:02> I find it's working much better now and that I can apply a current for much longer periods of time and at a higher level
    • <13:05> Reaction steady but messy
      • Red iron oxide splatters all around
      • Bubbling also intense
    • <13:10> At this point I find I only need to add water through the top opening to keep the reaction going
      • No particular noise from the AM radio is noticed throughout this latter part of the experiment
    • <13:12> Experiment manually terminated due to rusty mess and no further change observed
      • In retrospect I could have tried adding an electrolyte solution instead of plain (tap) water to check out for changes in the residue layer formed

    Figure 7: New arrangement with flipped coin after a while of operation. Rust production was intense and bubbling caused the top part to also become partially covered with it. Electrolyte was only minimally initially added.

    Figure 8: Both electrodes at the interface. The anode has been cleaned and eroded by the presumably intense cavitating action and gas formation. Red iron oxide is not sticking to the cathode, but the previously formed black oxide (?) layer has remained.

    Figure 9: Electrodes after cleaning in tap water. It's clear that the anode got eroded during the previous process. The cathode got an impression of the anode marking on its surface, and the red iron oxide did not stick.

    Conclusions and observations for the day

    • I could replicate the previous black coating finding once I added Na2CO3, but didn't reproduce the coarse coating which originally showed a crackling noise (due to embrittlement?)
      • Adding electrolyte appears to be important for this. Without it, red iron oxide that does not seem to stick to the cathode gets produced instead
    • When conditions and materials are right, there's only need to add water to keep the process going
    • I'm assuming that under steady state conditions the gap between both electrodes is minimal and that electrical conduction occurs mostly through the wet iron oxide layer
      • The cathode got a partial impression of the coin anode
    • Red iron oxide production intense today
      • I've never witnessed this in prior testing
      • This is probably thanks to the favorable electrode configuration this time
      • The anode got visibly eroded in the process
      • Fe2O3 is often used as a dehydrogenation catalyst in petrochemical processes, even on its own
        • Having obtained it should be a good thing, in theory
      • That so much iron is getting oxidized at the temperatures involved should mean that it most of it is from the dissociated water rather than ambiental oxygen
        • This might imply that gas evolution is hydrogen-biased
    • No clear changes in Geiger counts associated with the experiment have been observed
      • However the logging cart is still about 3 meters away from the testing area
  • Longview

    A different construction where the electrodes could be bolted onto some sort of tunable structure rather than held together with pressure would be better, but I initially simply used what I could readily find at home to test the concept. Besides the Geiger counter I haven't specifically acquired anything yet for the sole purpose of these tests.

    Have a look at the work of William McCarthy on similar semi-solid electrolytic cells. There's a schematic drawing of his cell at around 4:00 in this video from ICCF21:


    An abstract appeared in the ICCF21 documents, but the full paper has not (yet) been posted.

    He's been working on this concept for many years, and previously published another report on it:

    http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/BiberianJPjcondensedn.pdf (on pg. 263 of the pdf or pg. 256 of the indexed document)

  • magicsound

    I see, interesting. Here's a screenshot from the video showing the schematic.

    In my case I am trying to use water on purpose to do something slightly different: to recombine oxygen and hydrogen ions almost as soon as they form and to take advantage of any effect from water cavitation occurring in such tight environment. So I thought that minimizing the electrode gap would be useful, but water would still need to be present in some form.

    Besides more complex hypotheses of how this might be useful (e.g. Cardone-Carpinteri's piezonuclear reactions, LeClair's theories, etc), or bonus side-effects such as the formation of catalytic metal-oxides structures which could also help splitting water and/or hydrogen, A few days ago I came across a few papers and presentations by Moray B. King where he suggests that electrolyzers where electrode gap is minimal tend to be those where "overunity" effects occur, mainly due to cavitation (he has a hypothesis where the ZPE is involved):

    So, many possible phenomena could be occurring in this experiment type, even if it looks rather crude.

    A possible point of concern is that if Cardone and/or LeClair are right, neutron production might also be occurring. This would cause activation of nearby materials, which is also why I wondered if the oddly elevated signal I'm getting is something that I caused with earlier testing.

  • Alan Smith

    Any suggestion for something that could be tweaked over a very wide AC frequency range, is economical and very fault tolerant? The 5V/12V DC switching power supply (intended for usage with computers) I have has been abused quite a lot and still works fine for my purposes. And if it breaks, I have several others ready to use or could easily get a new one.

  • Depends on your budget really. But look at the driver units (called ESC's) intended for brushless motors as used in drones etc, these produce variable frequency AC at low voltage and quite high currents You could use your existing DC power supply as a 'battery' but will need a controller for the ESC. We probably have a member who knows more about Radio Control models than me- but a lot of this stuff is pretty cheap now.

  • Alan Smith

    From that, I ended up determining that a ready-made H-bridge circuit and perhaps an Arduino could be used for the task, although for just controlling the frequency a timer circuit might be sufficient. A few issues, though:

    • Arduino (the Uno version at least) has a hard time reaching switching frequencies in the order of 100 KHz and for less than trivial programs this limit could be much lower;
    • Such switching frequency could be too high for many H-Bridge circuits (or so I read);
    • Most of the low cost ready-made H-Bridges I found on online stores look inadequate for sustained large currents and appear to lack relevant protection against faults (mainly short-circuits, possibly voltage spikes)
  • You can buy buy astable switch units on ebay that will drive an H-Bridge giving you variable frequency and mark/space ratio for modest sums. I have some details of this in the lab- will hope to send you some links tomorrow.

  • Alan Smith

    That would be useful, although I'm not making any strong commitment yet on purchasing equipment dedicated to LENR experimentation.

    As for the actual experiments (if so they can be defined), they continue with what I already have, which might possibly be sufficient to test the concepts and hypotheses presented. Earlier on I've written that I have a slight suspicion that certain testing might be increasing base-level background readings in my environment. Over the past two days of testing the "unconventional electrolysis" of this thread (rather than other experiments or other variations) I think I am seeing some changes overall; if they're actually due to the tests, they could imply the presence of something that is "decaying" after formation and not the direct emission of radiation from them.

    However I acknowledge that these changes could still be coincidental and/or due to environmental (e.g. weather) variations.

    For the sake of completeness in documenting what I'm doing, even if it's quite crude, below are notes related to the tests performed earlier this morning.

    Experimental notes

    • <09:40> Setting up the experiment again, as previously done
      • This time I'm using using a slightly lower strength hard disk Nd magnet on the bottom of the ferromagnetic support
      • I plan using Na2CO3 electrolyte solution
        • But I will start with plain tap water first
      • A 28mm diameter Italian 100 Lire coin will be the bottom anode (+), a stainless steel washer will be the top cathode (-)
        • Both presumably made of SS430 alloy
        • The top part of the washer has been sanded down with 1000 grit sandpaper to clean it up and to improve conductivity with the electrical wire
      • I plan to use 5V straight away
      • Keep in mind that from the photos the wire color is inverted (black for positive, yellow for negative)
    • <09:57> Finished setting up the experiment

    Figure 15: Newly set up experiment, similar to that performed the day before.

    • <10:01> Line voltage: 5.00V
    • <10:02> Added tiny amounts of electrolyte through the top opening
      • Electrical conduction almost immediately appears to be more intense
    • <10:04> Line voltage: 4.88V
      • Because of gas production causing splatters when there is too much water, I'm trying to apply power impulsively
    • <10:05> Added more electrolyte through the top opening
    • <10:06> Added more electrolyte and water
    • <10:09> The water seeping off the electrodes looks rusty
      • Line voltage: 4.76V under steady state conditions
      • Added more electrolyte
    • <10:12> Added electrolyte in the water solution directly
    • <10:17> Added more electrolyte in the solution
    • <10:18> Inspected the cathode: it looks still black

    Figure 16: Electrodes after inspection. At this point there are still relatively large amounts of hematite being produced.

    • <10:21> Added more water after a continuous period of operation
    • <10:23> Allowed the interface to dry almost completely
      • Voltage eventually increased to 5.00V
    • <10:24> Added more electrolyte in the solution
    • <10:29> Allowed a period of continuous operation with several water refills through the top opening of the cathode
    • <10:30> Inspected the cathode
      • Initially was deep black, then rather quickly turned reddish upon air exposure
        • Was this sodium ferrite? (NaFeO2) Investigation required

    Figure 17: The cathode quickly turned red after disassembling inspection. Sodium ferrite (NaFeO2) production suspected.

    • <10:31> Added more electrolyte in the solution
    • <10:35> Allowed a period of continuous operation
      • Less hematite/rust getting produced than before, visually
        • This seems consistent with previous observations

    Figure 18: Red iron oxide (hematite) production decreasing, electrodes kind of getting cleaned after increasing amount of electrolyte in the water solution. It still appears as if upon exposure the cathode turns more reddish.

    • <10:37> Added more electrolyte in the solution
    • <10:41> The electrode assembly at this point appears to be running slightly hotter than earlier
      • Also cleaner with significantly less hematite production than before
    • <10:45> Experiment terminated
      • Will not wash the electrodes right away

    Figure 19: Electrodes after the experiment. Red iron oxide almost disappeared after adding progressively increasing amounts of electrolyte in the water solution.

    Figure 20: Situation at the electrode interface. Similar observations as above.

    Observations for the day

    • All went smoothly, without many particular surprises
    • The electrodes did not slide from each other, yet no serious short occurred
      • This might be thanks to the slight oxide layer formed, which is high friction and has a sufficiently high resistivity
      • It only occurred once that I had to reposition the cathode in order to restore a shorting condition. Rotating it on its place seemed sufficient
    • I allowed water to evaporate on purpose
      • A strangely fine mist was visible at times getting emitted from the electrode assembly
      • If we are to assume that some special water form is getting produced or special hydrogen is getting entrained into it, it's possible that it could decay later on with emission of unusual radiation, causing an increase in background readings
        • However, this might not happen right away, but need some time first, perhaps 12-24 hours
        • For the same reason I haven't washed thoroughly the materials used this time, to the extents of what was practical
    • There's the possibility that sodium ferrite could be produced under these electrolytic conditions
      • Interesting if confirmed, as it would likely be a catalytically active compound similar to KFeO2 in standard iron oxide-based industrial catalysts
      • I would expect this to be more stable than KFeO2
  • Alan Smith

    I don't have that yet, so I'd need to get some.

    I have avoided hydroxides as they need more caution than carbonates and I've been performing these tests kind of carelessly. Would potassium carbonate also work? Or is your hunch based for example on these findings by Simon Brink, although he's mostly referring to arc discharge reactions?

    Subtle atomics :: Hydroxide reactions


    Hydroxide Reactions

    The potential suitability for hydroxide groups to act as catalysts for hydrogen transistions to below ground state was investigated using electro-detonation and light flash morphology observations.


    Hydroxide groups may be able to accept quantised energy from hydrogen isotopes to allow hydrogen to transition to the first de-excited state (n=1/2). This transition is expected to release emissions in the extreme ultra violet range.

    EDIT: I ended up ordering 1 Kg of KOH and 1 Kg of K2CO3; I might have them within this week.

  • Alan Smith

    Thanks for the suggestions, will test and report as soon as I get the materials.

    Random observation: interestingly KOH has about the same molecular weight as Iron-56, the most common isotope of the the main solid element composing the materials involved in these tests.